When 17-year old Ahmed Shehzad was selected in Pakistan's Test squad for the home series against Sri Lanka in February, we checked out his profile and noticed he was born on November 23, 1991. We wondered if he would be the first player born in the 1990s to make a Test debut, but unfortunately Shehzad didn't get a game. As luck would have it, a hamstring injury to Nasir Jamshed during the ongoing ODI series against Australia gave Shehzad his debut in the second match in Dubai. And so we decided to check out which players from each decade made their debut the earliest. We also looked at those born in each decade to last play an ODI or a Test.
We discovered, though, that Shehzad wasn't the first from the 1990s to play a one-day international. He was was, shockingly, the eighth. Hong Kong's James Atkinson, born on August 24 1990, slipped under our radars when he made his debut against Pakistan in Karachi in June 2008. The other six post-1990 internationals are Alawi Shukri, Paul Stirling, McLaren Smith, Ruvindu Gunasekera, Seren Waters and Rubel Hossain.
You're probably wondering why there aren't any players from the 1930s and 1940s in the table below. We didn't include them because the first ODI, in January 1971, involved six players from the 1930s and 16 from the 1940s so they all qualified as having represented their decades first in ODIs. It wasn't until August 1972 that someone born in the 1950s made his debut - Australian Jeff Hammond, at the age of 22, against England at Edgbaston. It was his only ODI.
While looking at players from each decade to last play an ODI, we did not include the 1970s and 1980s because 21 players from the third Australia-Pakistan ODI (Shehzad being the exception) were born in those decades. The last player from the 1960s to play an ODI, however, is Canada's Sunil Dhaniram. He was born on October 17, 1968, and played against Ireland in the 2009 World Cup Qualifiers earlier this month, at the age of 40.
Zimbabwe's John Traicos was the last man from the 1940s to play ODIs for the longest time, until Netherlands' Nolan Clarke came along and smashed the record for the oldest ODI debutant in the 1996 World Cup. Clarke played his last match against South Africa in Rawalpindi at the age of 47.
Hasan Raza didn't give anyone else from the 1980s much of a chance to sneak on to the Test circuit ahead of him. Raza, born in 1982, played his first Test, against Zimbabwe in Faisalabad, on October 24 1996 at the unbelievable age of 14. However, he wasn't the first from the 1980s to play ODIs. Raza played his first one-dayer on October 30 1996, 28 days after 16-year-old Shahid Afridi made his debut against Kenya in Nairobi.
Aaqib Javed was the first player born in the 1970s to play both forms of the game. He played his first ODI at the Adelaide Oval in December 1988 at the age of 16 and made his Test debut in Wellington in February 1989. Aaqib narrowly edged out Sachin Tendulkar, who made his Test and ODI debuts in November-December 1989 when he too was 16 years old.
The last person from the 1960s to have played Tests is Sanath Jayasuriya. He was born in 1969 and played his last Test against England in 2007 at the age of 38. He's still going strong in ODIs, though - his last game was in February - and is likely to unseat Dhaniram as the last player from the 1960s to play an ODI.
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